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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while shifting your apology.

We have breaking news coming out of Brewer camp this morning: Tyler Barnes reports it's Photo Day.

Actually, several Brewers had significantly more in-depth photos taken over the weekend: John Steinmiller has a look at the process of taking video game headshots, with Ryan Braun and Corey Hart being photographed from multiple angles.

Should the Brewers be on the lookout for incoming fastballs in the team's first spring training game on Thursday? Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggested over the weekend that the Giants may be looking to retaliate for Prince Fielder's "shock wave" celebration from last September. Anthony Witrado pointed out the story in a blog post yesterday, but Tom Haudricourt called the notion "silly" this morning.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens, but I'd be surprised to see anything come of this. I doubt either team really wants a brawl during the opening week of spring training games, which is a strong possibility if Fielder gets hit. Furthermore, telling someone you're planning to retaliate before you do it is an easy way to net yourself a significant regular season suspension.

Speaking of Fielder, Anthony Witrado has a profile of the slugger. He makes it sound like Fielder lives his life in near-constant, paralyzing fear of failure.

Meanwhile, the JS has a look at the first base depth chart, which might be the least relevant depth chart you'll see all spring. Barring injury, there's no one on the roster not named Fielder that will see significant time at first base this season.

With that said, the team needed someone to fill the late innings of spring training games at first, so they've added 2009 Brevard County Manatee Steffan Wilson to big league camp (FanShot). Don't be surprised if Adam Heether also plays deep into games at first base this spring: He'll probably never play there in the majors, but it'd be a chance for him to get some extra at bats this spring without taking relevant playing time away from anyone else.

Yovani Gallardo will make his first spring training start on Friday (opposite Ben Sheets), and all eyes will be on him from this point forward as he attempts to anchor the Brewer rotation. Joshua Fisher of The Hardball Times accepted Gallardo as a write in candidate for Stock Watch 2010.

Behind Gallardo, three of the four remaining pitchers in the rotation will probably be left handed. Ken Macha says he's not worried about that, and pointed out some stats suggesting that some of the NL Central's top right handed hitters are actually better against righties than lefties.

The hype continues to build for Alcides Escobar's first full season in a Brewer uniform. Marc Hulet of The Baseball Analysts included Escobar in his list of 2010's top NL rookies. Escobar was the last Brewer to report to camp in Maryvale, but did arrive over the weekend.

Adam McCalvy profiled another new starter, center fielder Carlos Gomez, over the weekend. Gomez is in his third organization at age 24 after being traded for both Johan Santana and J.J. Hardy, but says he "never feels any pressure" to attempt to live up to the accompanying expectations.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae:

This might be the best spring ever in terms of ability to watch Brewer games from Arizona. On top of the previously announced FS Wisconsin telecasts, MLB Network will air four Brewer games as part of their slate of 78 games from the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues this spring. The first one will air a week from today when the Brewers host the Mariners. March 15th, 18th and 27th's games against the Indians, Rangers and Rangers again will also be televised.

In the minors:

  • I haven't seen it anywhere else, but Brewerfan.net says the Brewers have released 2008 12th round pick Garrett Sherrill. He posted a 5.01 ERA over parts of two seasons in the Brewer organization and appeared in just six games last season, all with Wisconsin.
  • Last week I mentioned Minor League Baseball Prospects' list of baseball's top 2000 prospects, which included 71 Brewers. Since then, they've crunched the numbers by team. We now know that the Brewers' 71 top 2000 prospects are tied for the eighth most in baseball.

In predictions, projections and whatnot:

  • Walkoff Walk notes that Las Vegas is predicting the Brewers will win 80.5 games this season, and takes the over.
  • Baseball Prospectus has updated their PECOTA standings, and moved the Brewers down to 76 wins.

Also, if you haven't yet you should take a moment today to toss in your two cents in the BCB Community Projections at third base. And if you weren't around over the weekend, you should also go back and read Noah's weekend Mug for more stuff you might have missed. Thanks to Noah for filling in on Friday so I could take an extra day off.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Signed pitchers Brett Tomko and Jason Jennings to minor league deals.
Yankees: Designated reliever Edwar Ramirez for assignment.

I was on the road this weekend when I heard about the Cardinals' $2 million deal with Felipe Lopez, and assumed there were a bunch of incentives to push it up into the $5 million range. It turns out that's not the case: R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs notes that the most Lopez could earn this season is $2.2 million. I know Lopez is coming off a career year and has some perceived intangible flaws, but at that price he could help at least a dozen teams...including perhaps the Brewers.

Elsewhere in the division, Brewers Bar has a preview of the Pirates. The short term future doesn't look very promising in Pittsburgh, but they think the Pirates will finish 2010 outside of last place, which would be a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals continue to lead by example as protectors of baseball's time-honored traditions. They know that each team must have a flu outbreak at least once during camp, so they led the way by having four players miss workouts on Saturday.

Some days, it seems like everyone is talking about former Brewers:

  • Derrick Turnbow has been struggling to deal with some pressure in Marlins camp, but not the kind you'd expect. Turnbow was battling an infection near the big toenail on his plant foot. Follow that link for the relatively gross resolution. Amazingly enough, two batters have been hit during live BP in Marlins camp and Turnbow wasn't responsible for either of them.
  • MetsBlog has a video invterview with Frank Catalanotto.
  • The New York Times has an interview with Chad Moeller regarding various pitchers he's caught throughout his long and winding career. He tells a couple of interesting stories about Ben Sheets' 18 strikeout game and Chris Capuano picking Roger Clemens off first base (h/t Rob Neyer).
  • Jamey Newberg notes the similarities between Paul Molitor and Michael Young, and the relationship between the two.
  • The B-Ref Blog remembers a Brewer you've probably forgotten: 1994 catcher Rick Wrona, who holds the record for most extra base hits in a season without a single. Wrona had five hits in 12 PAs in 1994: four doubles and a home run.

Actually, Turnbow's toe issue isn't the weekend's strangest injury note: Francisco Rodriguez is missing some time in Mets camp with pink eye.

Of course, even that story doesn't compare to the Royals' attempt to turn Kyle Farnsworth into a starter. Joe Posnanski calls that The Ultimate Spring Training Story.

Do they still call it the weight room? Craig Calcaterra notes that the Mariners have removed barbells and most other weights from their spring training "weight room" as part of an overhaul of the team's approach to fitness.

This stat is so amazing that I can hardly believe it's accurate: According to Sportsologist, there are just 26 current major leaguers with college degrees, including managers.

I think I'm pretty clearly on the record as not being a fan of fantasy sports. With that said, if I could win a title belt like Brian McCann's, I'd probably be motivated to give them another shot.

Take a moment today to clear your calendar: As Jayson Stark noted on Twitter, yesterday was the last Sunday without a live baseball game until November 7 (FanShot).

Happy birthday to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to search for very tall bicyclists and dog toupees.

Drink up.